Regional airports receive €2.5m in grants from exchequer
Funds will be used for safety and security upgrades
Donegal Airport, above, received just under €3 million while Knock airport received €11.4 million in capital and operational grants. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Almost €2.5 million of taxpayer funds has been awarded to three regional airports for safety and security upgrades, the Department of Transport has announced.
Kerry airport will receive the largest amount, with an allocation of €1.17 million. Ireland West Airport Knock received just over €1 million while Donegal, the smallest of the State’s airports, received €276,871.
“I am hopeful that this funding will help airports to deliver critical investment during this difficult period and to support them in planning for a time beyond Covid-19,” said Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the Department of Transport.
Ms Naughton highlighted that, between now and 2027, the exchequer will give about €60 million to regional airports for capital investment to meet the costs of safety and security infrastructure projects.
Ms Naughton also said that she intends to examine supports for the airports and finalise a new, five-year regional airports programme in the autumn.
A review of the regional airports programme last year showed that between 2015 and 2018 the State gave funding of €23.8 million to the four regional airports including Waterford Airport, which hasn’t had commercial flights for almost four years.
Knock airport received the highest amount, €11.4 million in capital and operational grants, while Donegal received the least at just under €3 million. However, the PSO support for flights between Dublin and Donegal cost the State a further €14.8 million while the Dublin to Kerry route cost €15.1 million between 2015 and January 31st of 2019.
Under European state aid rules, airports with fewer than one million passengers must contribute at least 25 per cent to capital investments, while they must contribute at least 20 per cent for operational funding.
Last year, Knock airport carried more than 805,000 passengers, Kerry had almost 370,000 passengers and Donegal carried 48,500.